Rethinking the modern athlete’s place in society

ChuckIn one of the more poignant sports commercials of all time, Charles Barkley told America that he was not a role model.  Of course, Chuck was just trying to sell some shoes in the process but his point resonates to this day.  Athletes are not role models.  At least they haven’t been lately.

Barkley continued that parents should be role models, grown-ups who have far more hands-on time (or at least should) in their child’s development and not some guy who dribbles a basketball or runs in touchdowns for a living.

To this day, we lionize athletes because they do what we can’t but have always wanted to.  We watch their every game, wear their jerseys, spend our money on tickets to see them and put our lives on hold when they take the field of play.

Don’t believe me?  Walk into any classroom, office or watering hole on Monday and see how many people are talking about what happened on the football field only twenty-four hours beforehand.

Sports are our diversion.  But with every passing crime athletes commit, they become less so.  We might be finally warming up to that fact.

Who knew that the Round Mound of Rebound would be so right so many years ago?  It is LONG overdue that we stop holding Ray Rice and Danny Ferry and Jim Irsay and Adrian Peterson and Oscar Pistorius and Donald Sterling and Aaron Hernandez and Ray Mc Donald and Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell and insert name of random sports-related person here to a higher standard.  In fact, we should do the exact opposite for these guys who routinely say and do the stupidest shit.

goodell thumbs upThese athletes and owners and commissioners can’t relate to us just like we can’t relate to them.  These athletes never went to class so if you have any inkling of a college degree, you’re probably smarter than them.  These owners were likely born into their money.  They don’t struggle to pay their mortgages like you or I.  These commissioners, men who are supposed to be the most educated of the bunch with their law degrees and their impartiality, the average sports fan is the least of their concern.  All they offer is lip service and the protection of those who sign their paychecks.

But they are not alone in creating a world where sports figures run amok.

There has been nothing but outrage from every Tom, Dick and Harry ever since Ray Rice first put his hands on his wife and even more so when the league mishandled their investigation of this crime.  Yet how many of you watched the NFL this weekend?  I’m not throwing stones.  I watched too.  And I write about it on this very website and discussed the games with friends.  But it wasn’t a priority in my life.  Was it in yours?

I’d have been just as fine protesting this fucking league and going to the beach with a good book and a cold beverage.  Would you have?

ray rice cartoonIf you are REALLY outraged about Ray Rice and the league then do something about it.  Far be it from little old me to call a formal protest.  Half of you have already stopped reading by now anyway.

But if you really want to do something about it, I challenge you to stop watching the game.  Stop supporting their product.  Or at least stop making it a priority in your life.  That’s the only way we’re going to affect any true change in professional sports, by holding these people accountable for the actions.

Either that or shelve your outrage because you’re a part of the problem.

Keith Olbermann recently called Roger Goodell “an enabler of men who beat women.”  When we watch these games so are we.  It is your hypocrisy and mine that keeps the sport in business.

What are you going to do about it?

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11 Replies to “Rethinking the modern athlete’s place in society”

  1. Yeah, right.
    Joe Six-Pack could give a shit about taking a stand…Especially when it comes to sports. It’s supposed to be our escape from reality, not the narrative for society’s ills.

    If we’re able to swallow the shit soup our politicans have been spoon serving us since the inception of this great govenment experiment known as America, then a little pro athlete behavioral hiccup or two will barely cause more than a two week Twitter fart.

    The world and our country are imploding and no one cares, so I doubt this “outrage” will garner any attention beyond next week.

  2. I don’t disagree with you, Brother Bleed, but here’s the thing.

    You don’t see the average American throwing on his jersey and painting his face to watch C-Span.

    No, man. We look to sports because it takes us away from all the other bullshit we deal with on the daily. Politics does not. It reminds us of it. Nowadays, so does sports.

    And listen, there’s nothing wrong with holding our politicians accountable either.

    But again, you’re right. We’ll all have forgotten about it in another week or so.

    Either way, I still won’t be tuning into C-Span.

    Wait, do they have cheerleaders?

  3. There is no reality when it comes to sports in terms of the hierarchies and their leaders in particular . NCAA President Mark Emmert doesn’t tak the issue of campus sexual assaults seriously . His statements in front of a congressional panel was proof of the fact . Danny Ferry (GM of the Atlanta Hawks) is given pass for describing a player in racial derogatory terms even though he was said to be reading a report on Luol Deng . The owner of the Hawks’ franchise Bruce Levenson’s comments racial epithets sent in an e-mail makes Donald Sterling’s statements seem like child’s play . Levenson has since sold his majority stake in the Atlanta Hawks but yet neither he or Ferry are reprimanded by the NBA for their actions . The Forty Niners’ Ray McDonald has not been reprimanded by the NFL and he did was to punch and slap his pregnant girlfriend but the Niners and the NFL hierarchy are waiting on the legal system to take the necessary action . McDonald admitted his actions in a local interview but showed little remorse for his action . Now you have Adrian Peterson being charged with child abuse against a his son whom he shares custody with the child’s mother to who is not married . Today’s athletes are simply about image , money and their entourages . No one epitomizes that more than LBJ and Money Mayweather .

    We know Barkley isn’t role model , he proved that with his explanation the cop when he got caught for speeding when his response was ” he was on his way to get a “blow #ob ” from a hooker .

    Jim Brown had it right about not only Kobe Bryant but many today’s athletes in general .

  4. Chris

    When there’s a place for common decency within the sports’ landscape , perhaps then there can be a common and meaningful dialog rather than a bunch of old farts playing as if they have a healthy respect for women much less a great many other social issues . The NBA, NFL and MLB are the biggest culprits and hypocrites above all along with the NCAA.

  5. The escape from reality that sports is supposed to be is a thing of the past. The 24 hour news cycle, social media and the headline grabbing behavior of sports figures has created a new kind of monster.

    Donald Sterling, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson became poster children for certain causes by acting a fool. Not the first, won’t be the last.

    Shit happens, people react. I just find it kind of sad that so many people get all riled up about Sterling and Rice and can’t wait to vent about it, but feel politics and religion are conversational taboo.

    Whether or not one is interested in politics, politicians are interested in them. They are on mission to invade our wallets and whittling away at our freedoms. If people don’t start taking an interest and becoming informed voters, they will find themselves wondering what the hell happened.

    The boiling frog theory has validity in todays America…As does the comparisons to Rome. If we’re not active stewards of our democratic Republic, we may soon lose it…Sadly, and deservedly so.

  6. I don’t know that Ferry was given a pass, Al.

    First of all, we all now think he’s a douche. Second, he took a leave of absence from the team that was probably forced. Either way, the guy has lost a lot of respect.

    And you’re right. Silver is now having to deal with shit that Goodell is. How much of a difference is there between what Sterling said and what Levenson said? Heck, Ferry’s comments might have been the most inflammatory of them all.

    Decency in the sports landscape? With the way things are going, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  7. Bleed…

    All that being said, have your picks to me by Thursday some time so I can post ’em.

    I should warn you I’m picking at a 25% clip so if you lose to me, well, there’s literally no excuse for that even happening.

  8. Bleed sums it up nicely… thanks.

    Chump, I don’t think any less of Ferry now because there wasn’t much, if any, room left below him on the douche scale.

    Give him a one way bus ticket to some remote pasture… and it doesn’t even need to be on a Greyhound…

  9. Decency went out the window a long time ago with their being respect within sports in general . The sports’ hierarchy leaders now make the @ssholes in Congress seem like acolytes .

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